By the Book: Sweet Reads, Right Now

By: Kirsten Vala

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By The Book - James Beard Winners

My creaking, over-laden bookshelf means I need to be extra-choosey when buying cookbooks.  I always keep an eye on the James Beard Awards (the Oscars of the food world) for future favorites.

Here are the  2010 big winners, surely flying into the shopping carts of food lovers everywhere.  Which ones may soon squeeze onto my bookshelf?  The Country Cooking of Ireland looks like a good prospect with great writing and 250 recipes from the former editor-in-chief of Saveur.

I've also been intending to buy Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home since last fall.  I love it when well-loved, sophisticated chefs go "quick and easy."   (Bonus:  Find Keller's recipe for Buttermilk Fried Chicken on Amazon.)

With my guilty passion for all things pastry, I've had my eye on the photo-heavy, ultra-instructional Baking by James Patterson.  Is it better than the regimented, “Cooking from a Professional Point of View” category winner, The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Pastry Arts by The French Culinary Institute with Judith Choate?  It's a battle between big dog NYC culinary schools:  The Institute of Culinary Education where Patterson teaches vs. The French Culinary Institute.

Either way, I think we all come out on top.  It's world-class pastry chef training for the price of two cookbooks - impossible to resist!  I might get them both but I'll start with Baking.  I'm a fan of Patterson and ICE, but most of all, I was seduced by the 300 recipes and 2,000 photos.

What cookbook is currently on your counter?

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